NEWS BRIEF

Most-Viewed Congressional Bill: Marijuana Legalization

Another sign that Americans are intensely interested in cannabis reform: A proposal to legalize marijuana ranks as the most-viewed bill on the US government’s main website for federal legislative information.

In fact, the bill is more popular than hot-button issues such as jobs, guns and the economy.

The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013 – or HR 499 – would lead to a sea change in how the government approaches cannabis.

Under the bill, the government would decriminalize marijuana, remove it from its list of controlled substances and treat the drug similarly to alcohol in terms of regulation and enforcement. The Treasury Department would provide oversight for licenses tied to packaging and distribution, and states would be able to regulate the production and sale of the drug.

You can read a summary here.

Rep. Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat, introduced the bill in February, and it now has 16 co-sponsors. It was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations but hasn’t gained much traction since.

Even though it’s doubtful Congress will have a meaningful discussion of marijuana legalization at this point, the public may force its hand eventually. Aside from the intense levels of interest in the legalization bill, polls show overwhelming support across the country for medical marijuana and, increasingly, recreational cannabis.

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